you can't teach an old dog new tricks

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of you can't teach an old dog new tricks

used to say that a person who is old or is used to doing things in a certain way cannot learn or does not want to learn a new way
  • I tried to get my mother to start using a computer, but she says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Word by Word Definitions

you play
  1. : the one or ones being addressed — compare thee, thou, ye, your, yours

  2. : one

can't play
  1. : can not

teach play
  1. : to cause to know something

  2. : to cause to know how

  3. : to accustom to some action or attitude

old play
  1. : dating from the remote past : ancient

  2. : persisting from an earlier time

  3. : of long standing

  1. : one of a specified age

  2. : old or earlier time

dog play
  1. : canid

  2. : a male dog

  3. : a worthless or contemptible person

  1. : canine

  2. : having an inferior or inauthentic quality : spurious

  1. : to hunt, track, or follow like a hound

  2. : to worry as if by pursuit with dogs : plague

  3. : to bother or pester persistently

  1. : extremely, utterly

new play
  1. : having recently come into existence : recent, modern

  2. : having been seen, used, or known for a short time : novel

  3. : unfamiliar

  1. : newly, recently

trick play tricks
  1. : a crafty procedure or practice meant to deceive or defraud

  2. : a mischievous act : prank

  3. : a deceptive, dexterous, or ingenious feat

  1. : to deceive by cunning or artifice : cheat

  2. : to dress or adorn fancifully or ornately : ornament

  1. : of or relating to or involving tricks or trickery

  2. : skilled in or used for tricks

  3. : somewhat defective and unreliable


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

an inference not connected logically

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!